Phyllis Stephens

May 29, 1934 - December 9, 2018
Vicksburg and Portage, MI



Sunday, December 16, 2018
2:00 PM to 5:00 PM EST
McCowen & Secord Life Story Funeral Homes
Rupert-Durham Chapel
409 South Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097
(269) 649-1697
Driving Directions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Generous Hands
P.O. Box 313
Vicksburg, MI 49097
(269) 370-7965
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Polderman's Florist & Garden Center
8710 Portage Road
Portage, MI 49002
(269) 327-3656
Driving Directions

Heirloom Rose
407 S. Grand St.
Schoolcraft, MI 49087
(269) 679-3010
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Phyllis Stephens was a devoted wife, proud mother, loving grandmother and great grandmother who modeled generosity and kindness to all who were touched by her presence. She held many special gifts and talents during her lifetime including baking, knitting and crocheting, and her love of working in her flower gardens. Her rich legacy of compassion and unconditional love will forever be etched on the hearts of her special loved ones for generations to come. There is no doubt that she will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.

1934 saw the turning point in the Great Depression in America with unemployment decreasing. Bouncing back from a severe drought that summer, Vernal and Maxine Ash were elated with joy to welcome home their newborn daughter, Phyllis to their home on May 29, 1934, in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. Born the oldest of five children, she brought much happiness into the lives of her young parents.

Growing up on a family farm, Phyllis was no stranger to hard work. Both of her parents instilled in her a strong work ethic by modeling their day to day challenges of managing the farm and keeping up the household. They worked well into their later years in order to provide the very best for their children. Her father later took work as a guard in the local state prison while her mother both groomed and boarded dogs. Phyllis held many responsibilities at a young age including caring for her younger siblings while balancing school work and helping out in the household.

By the young age of sixteen, Phyllis met the man of her dreams, Charles Stephens! High school sweethearts, the two of them were inseparable from the start. Living within a short distance from one another afforded them the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time together. It was the 1950s, young lovers were known to visit local ice cream parlors, drive-in movies, and bowling alleys. It didn’t matter what they chose to do as long as they were together!

The happy couple joined in marriage on August 18, 1950, in Wanatah, Indiana. Later, they were blessed with three beautiful children; Gale Edward, Susan Kaye, and Craig Alan. Looking for better work opportunities to provide for his growing family, Chuck moved them to Portage, Michigan in 1963 settling on beautiful West Lake. By 1977, he was able to establish his own business together with his two sons, Quality Air Service, serving as both the owner and operator until he later sold the business to his son, Gale. His hard work afforded Phyllis an opportunity to raise the children as a homemaker. They remained a close-knit family during those growing years where Phyllis was known to spoil them with her fresh homebaked goods and always had a warm meal on the table. They taught their children the value of building lasting relationships often modeled through their service to others. Over the years, they enjoyed many family vacations to the Bahamas, Mexico and the Caribbean as well as their favorite stopping spots in Michigan and Minnesota. They were most content outdoors near water where Chuck could fish and Phyllis could relax in the sunshine.

Their final years together were in a home they built together in Vicksburg on a piece of property where Phyllis could spend time in her garden and focus on caring for her cherished pets. Known for her delicious baked goods especially her chocolate chip cookies and her delicious cherry dessert, Phyllis’ special way of sharing her rich talents will be fondly remembered. She was a wonderful, caring, and gentle soul who will be missed immensely. Phyllis wanted nothing less than the very best for her family. May all who knew and loved her be touched by her special presence each time they gather together or whenever they are surrounded by the peacefulness of nature.

Phyllis Stephens, of Vicksburg and Portage, passed away on Sunday, December 9, 2018, at the age of 84. She is survived by two children: Gale Edward (Anne) Stephens, of Portage; Craig Alan (Sabine) Stephens, of Portage; two grandchildren: Michael James Stephens, of Portage; Lisa Ann Jepkema, of Portage; five great-grandchildren: Ava, Anna, Isaac, Ryker, and Skyla. Phyllis is also survived by her sister, Charlotte (Bob) Middleton, of FL, her brother James Alan Ash, of IN and several nieces and nephews. Phyllis was preceded in death by her loving husband, Chuck Stephens in 2012 and her daughter, Susan Kaye in 2007. The family will receive friends on Sunday from 2-5 p.m. at McCowen & Secord Life Story Family Funeral Homes, Rupert-Durham Chapel, 409 S. Main Street, Vicksburg (269-649-1697). Phyllis’ ashes will be buried at Fountain View Terrace in Union Mills, Indiana at a later date. Please visit Phyllis’ memory page at www.mccowensecord.com where you can sign her guestbook and share a memory. Those who wish may make a memorial donation to the Generous Hands.